Click on any picture for a larger view.
1: BIGGEST ARTIFACT
The biggest artifact in the Great Hall of Washington History is the shingle weaving machine.
With a giant blade that spun so fast and so dangerously that many sawyers lost fingers, this machine was used
to slice cedar logs into thin wedges called "shingles."
2: OLDEST ARTIFACT
Dating back 11,000 years, about the time of the last North American Ice Age, the Clovis points are the museum's
oldest artifacts. Made of agate, chalcedony quartz, and mammoth or mastodon bone, the fluted points, bifaces,
scrapers, and bone rods are thought to be either hunting tools or ceremonial objects.
3: NEWEST ARTIFACT
The newest artifacts in the Great Hall are the Epidemic Memorial masks. Created in 1995-96 by five Native
American artists especially for the museum, the masks represent the effects of smallpox, measles, malaria,
and alcoholism on native peoples.
4: HEAVIEST ARTIFACT
The heaviest artifacts on exhibit are the railroad trucks. Made of heavy iron, these swiveling frames with
attached wheels are located at either end of the railroad car. There are two, and they each weigh 6,500 pounds
(that's about one hundred 4th graders). Now that's heavy!
5: SMALLEST ARTIFACT
Just half an inch in diameter, the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) stick pin, may be the smallest
artifact on exhibit in the Great Hall, but it has one of the biggest stories. Between the 1880s and the 1920s,
labor unions such as the IWW called for safer working conditions, shorter work days, and fair wages. One of
their methods of demand was the general strike which is still used by unions today.
6:MOST SOUGHT AFTER ARTIFACT
During the 'Rush of 1897-98, people risked life and limb to go in search of a particular precious metal. Can
you guess what it is? That's right, gold. You'll find a pair of Gold Pokes used by miners to carry gold dust
and a pan of genuine gold nuggets all in the Klondike section of the Wageworker's frontier.
7: MOST DANGEROUS IDEA
Included in the Hard Times & Homefront section of the Great Hall of Washington History is an acrylic
sphere measuring 3.25" in diameter. This small, clear, tennis-ball sized sphere represents the amount
of plutonium used in the atomic bomb that exploded over Nagaski, Japan during World War II. The plutonium it
represents was manufactured at the Hanford site in Washington.
8: WILDEST COLLECTION OF STUFF
The Product Tree, with nearly 80 objects representing the wood products industry between
1880 and 1920, is one wild collection of stuff. From wheelbarrows to picket fences, duck decoys to caskets,
you'll find just about everything people once commonly made from wood in the tree.
9: ANCIENT ARTWORK
Do you know the difference between a petroglyph and a pictograph? In the museum's Petroglyph Theater, you'll
discover that petroglyphs are pictures carved in stone while pictographs are paintings on stone. Both kinds
of ancient artwork can be found on the basalt rock walls along the Columbia River.
10: CAN YOU GUESS . . .
How many bricks it took to cover the entire museum building?
If you guessed 350,000, you're right!
11: TALLEST EXHIBIT
Rising 42 feet into the air (that's 10.5 four-foot fourth graders stacked head-to-toe), the electric tower is
the tallest piece of exhibitry in the Great Hall of Washington History. The tower symbolizes the Columbia Basin
Project and its role in the production of hydroelectricity and the irrigation of eastern Washington's "desert
12: DID YOU KNOW . . .
That the museum's 200-seat outdoor amphitheater (where all school field trip groups meet on arrival) is modeled
after the dome of Union Station (the train station next door) turned upside down.
13: MOST POPULAR EXHIBIT
Everybody, both big and small, young and old, seems to love the Oregon Trail wagon. There's just something
about sitting up there on the wagon seat and holding the reins that whisks you back in time...
14: MOST TOUCHABLE EXHIBIT ITEMS
The 21 touch-screen computers in the Great Hall of Washington History love to be touched. Try your hand
at "Logger's Lingo," have a "Conversation with Washington," or quiz yourself
with "Encyclopedia Washingtonia." You'll also get to flip through 20 different photo books and
face the challenge of ship, fruit label, and salmon puzzles.
15: STILLEST PEOPLE
"Frozen in time" is how we describe the 35 mannequins within the Great Hall of Washington History.
Fashioned after people in Washington's past such as a Nisqually fisherman, Lewis & Clark,
and "Rosie the Riveter," the hands and faces of these mannequins were sculptured by a forensic
sculptor to best depict the characters they portray. In some cases, modern-day people modeled for the
mannequins. In fact, Luigi, the Italian immigrant traveling to Washington via train, bears a strong
resemblance to David Nicandri, the museum's former director. Hmmm, wonder why....